Viñales found a good feeling at the recent private test in Aragon, Spain, and he continued the positive vibes this morning when he started his San Marino GP challenge. He gradually climbed the provisional rankings, entering the top-3. He held firm for most of the FP1 session until the pace picked up in the final seven minutes, but even then he kept his cool and responded by clocking a 1’32.739s to take third place, 0.131s from first.
Despite the weather conditions changing from sunny to overcast in the afternoon, the Spaniard picked up work where he had left off. He struggled to show the same pace he had in the morning, but whilst tweaking his bike’s set-up he was able to post 1’32s laps towards the end and ultimately finished the day in fourth place, both in the FP2 and the combined timesheets, with a 1’32.411s, 0.213s from the top.
Thousands of Italian fans had been waiting to see their local hero in action, but the start of the San Marino GP weekend wasn’t what Rossi had hoped for. Nevertheless, he focused on improving his bike’s dry setting as the forecast for FP2 and FP3 remained uncertain and the race on Sunday is predicted to be dry. He ended the morning session in 15th position, with a 1.007s margin to first.
In the cloudy afternoon the Doctor had his work cut out for him to claim a position inside the combined free practice top-10, but the added pressure only motivated him even more. He worked tirelessly trying to make his way up the order. He saved the best for last, dropping a 1’32.786s in the final two minutes that put him in eighth place both in the combined and FP2 timesheets, 0.588s from today’s fastest time.